Perennial aquatic plant growing to 9 in (23 cm). Has trefoil leaves and spikes of pink and white flowers with fringed petals.
Habitat & Cultivation
Bogbean is native to Europe, Asia, and America. It is found in shallow fresh water. The leaves are picked in summer.
Bogbean contains iridoid glycosides, flavonol glycosides, coumarins, phenolic acids, sterols, triterpenoids, tannin, and very small amounts of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. The iridoids are strongly bitter and stimulate digestive secretions.
History & Folklore
Long used as a folk remedy for rheumatism and arthritis, bogbean has also been taken to treat fluid retention, scabies, and fever. In the past, because of the herb’s pronounced bitterness, it was used as an adulterant of, or a substitute for, hops (Humulus lupulus).
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Bogbean is a strongly bitter herb that encourages the appetite and stimulates digestive secretions. It is taken to improve underactive or weak digestion, particularly if there is abdominal discomfort. This herb is also used as an aid to weight gain.
Bogbean is thought to be an effective remedy for rheumatism, especially when this condition is associated with weakness, weight loss, and lack of vitality. Mostly, bogbean is prescribed in combination with other herbs such as celery seed (Apium graveolens) and white willow (Salix alba).
Do not take if suffering from diarrhea, dysentery, or colitis. Excessive doses may cause vomiting.